08/27/2012 - 12/16/2012
MW 12:00 - 12:55
MW 13:05 - 14:25
11:30 a.m - 12:00 pm
Galaxy Dance Studio
Office Hours also by appointment
Department Course Catalog Description
This class is a study of the use of the body on stage to communicate character and action. Activities include exercises in body control, body language, and dance designed to provide movement theatre skills for the student actor, as well as to instill self-awareness, spatial awareness, and tools and techniques for effective physical expression.
I. Course Overview - “Motion Creates Emotion.” - Francois Desarte
This course is designed to introduce you to the physical instrument of the actor. The class introduces concepts and the lab is practicum.
I. Course Objectives
Students will develop physical skills that can be applied to any theatrical performance. You will explore and construct characters using specific tools and techniques provided in class. You will also be able to identify discrete theatrical genres, the great acting teachers and their methods who inspired them beginning with the Greeks on to Post-Modern approaches. Students will then take this understanding and apply physical and theatrical concepts such psychological gesture and viewpoints to their chosen performances. Students will also explore and present multi-cultural and diverse movement forms that investigate the roots of movement (heredity and environment) in their individual lineages to better understand the body-mind connections integral to expression. The actor will learn to embody creative expression by stretching the imagination and tapping into unexplored areas of presentation to find unique ways to physically embody a role.
Class Participation (30% towards your final grade)
This is a process-oriented, active laboratory class. Your participation will usually be in the form of, but not limited to, individual and/or group, warm-ups, exercises, activities, explorations, improvisations, expressions, responses, critiques, and experiments, both in and out of the classroom. You are expected to contribute in a constructive, positive, stimulating, and productive manner.
The Monologue/Persona - These two assignments explore solo performance. One is focused on interpretation (the monologue) and the other is created from scratch to reflect upon and capture, in theatrical terms, the students’ very unique persona.
The Scene - Everyone reads the same two person, one act play and then asked to utilize the distinct physical approaches introduced in class, to present a scene from it. A character worksheet is provided to assist the actor with their analysis so that their physicality of the character is distinct and yet true to the given circumstances of the piece.
Group Work - Everyone must take part in all the group exercises. All members of a group will receive the same score, that is, the project is assessed and everyone receives this score. However, that number is only 90% of your grade for this project. The final 10% is individual and refers to your teamwork. Every person in the group will provide the instructor with a suggested grade for every member of the group and the instructor based on a one to 10 scale. The final grade, however, remains the instructor’s call--regardless. This exercise is meant to be a thoughtful evaluation and observation of each other’s daily work.
The Lineage Report- This oral presentation is based on the research (and even fantasy!) of your lineage explored historically so that you discover (or claim) the dance or movement you discovered that informs what is unique about your “tribe” and how that style of movement or practice relates,or not, to the larger theatrical world historically.
Each presentation is comprised of specified criteria that further explores, reinforces and measures your comprehension of the core objectives of this course. The criteria includes: body language, body management, tools and techniques for effective physical expression and character development as well as the multi-cultural root of your individual backgrounds. The idea is that at the core of the theatre is the transference of ideas, expression, and information through the means of sound (what we hear) and spectacle (what we see). Each presentation must be approached with the objective of bringing the subject matter to life for the audience. Each presentation must include a physical demonstration. The focus, format, criteria, and general due date for each presentation will be handed out in class. You must be present on the day of your scheduled presentation, as it will not be rescheduled.
Reading Assignments (10% towards your final grade): For each class meeting that requires reading, you are required to bring 2 questions or points of interest you have discovered in regards to the reading. You keep these questions and one response per reading in your journal.
Each class you fail to provide this will result in a 5% final grade reduction. Sometimes this work will be collected. If you are absent, you will not receive a penalty, the absence will be the only penalty you incur. Occasional pop quizzes are also presented.
The Response (10% towards your final grade): In addition to developing your physical instrument this course sets forth to strengthen your public speaking and presentation skills. These skills will provide you with the means for greater success in your life, and will foster an atmosphere of collaboration and community within our classroom.
Theatre/Dance Production Attendance (20% of your final grade): You must attend two productions this semester, the ACC production and one local production that you must attend before Thanksgiving. Two responses are due to each production and they are due the week after you attend them. A hand-out with questions to respond to will be provided.
The ACC production is LOCKED IN THE ARMS OF A CRAZY LIFE: poems by Charles Bukowski directed by Shelby Brammer, opens October 4, runs 5, 6th and October 11, 12 and 13th, ACC Mainstage Theatre. FYI: AUDITIONS WEDNESDAY, AUG. 29TH, 6:30pm with callbacks THURSDAY, AUG. 30TH, at 6:30pm, ACC Mainstage Theater, 2nd floor, RGC. Sign-in sheet posted at 6pm. Actors will be asked to perform a minimum of one poem, provided at the audition.
To choose a local productions see - nowplayingaustin.com or austinchronicle.com.
Extra Credit (10% max.) 1 – Attendance Reward – If you attend every class you will receive a 10% credit towards your final grade. If you are absent only once you will receive a 5% credit towards your final grade.
Required Texts and Materials
THE GREAT ACTING TEACHERS AND THEIR METHODS by Richard Brestoff.
A blank journal; hand-outs on various topics provided including a one-act play.
Two tickets for 1) local production and 2) ACC production
Class Schedule - subject to change
Monday, Aug. 27 - “What was good acting to some, becomes bad acting to others. One generations’s truth becomes another generation’s cliche.” (Brestoff) Meet and Greet: claiming space, setting intention, introducing the warm-up; read Introduction in Brestoff text for next time.
Wednesday, Aug. 29 - “The physical reactions comes first and then the emotional one.” (Brestoff) Read--Chpt. 1, Assign metaphor dramas.
Monday, Sept. 3 - “How does one combine the need to pretend with the need to express something true?” (Brestoff) Present metaphor/painting dramas, pt. 1 read pp. 16-26
Wednesday, Sept. 5 - “Whenever you can forget an audience, you will charm them.” (Brestoff) Discovering relaxation. Present metaphor/painting dramas, pt. 2 read pp. 26-34.
Monday, Sept. 10 - “Stop, look and listen.” (F.M. Alexander)Assign A&B teams and occupational observations site 1. (off-campus) Pass out assignment requirements. Topic: ‘object of attention’ and public solitude.
Wednesday, Sept. 12 - “Choose those elements in your environment that are worth responding to.” (Brestoff) Occupational observation site 2 (off-campus); read pp. 34-42. Be ready to present occupational exercise in class with partner. (two versions) Memorize dialogue on pg. 39 and use for one version.
Monday, Sept. 17 - “Lots of little actions to accomplish the BIG action.” (Brestoff) read pp. 42-51. discovering the movement that is action, super-objective and the through line of action. Present occupational exercises, pt. 1
Wednesday, Sept. 19 - “Memories are always physical reactions.”(Brestoff) Moving with ‘emotional memory.” present occupational exercises, pt. 2 read pp. 51-58
Monday, Sept. 24 - “The Living chemistry between us is what is compelling.” (Brestoff) Moving with communion, adaptation and tempo-rhythm. pp. 59-62, assign showtime exercise, pass out commedia dell’arte handout, texts.
Wed. Sept. 26 - “The operetta and vaudeville make the best school for actors.” (Stanislavski) Introduce the grotesque; present showtime exercises. Assign the stock character ‘drawing’ exercise. (memorize text of your choice from hand-out); pp. 63-76
Monday, Oct. 3 - “The psychological gesture is a physical action which reveals the inner feelings of the character and personality of the character.” (Brestoff) Stock character presentations: tragic vs. comic. pp. 72-92, affective memory vs. the animal; pass out hand-out ‘the beast” assignment.
Wed., Oct. 5 - “Why should art imitate life when art is so utterly different from art?” (Brestoff) Present “the beast.” ; Alexander technique hand-out
Monday Oct. 8 - “The most valuable knowledge we can possess is of the use and functioning of the self. (F.M. Alexander) Guest instructor: The Alexander technique
Wed. Oct. 10 - “When an investigation comes to be made, it will be found that every single thing we are doing in the work is exactly what is being done in Nature where the conditions are right, the difference being that we are learning to do it consciously.” (F.M. Alexander) Visiting Guest instructor: The Alexander technique; read p. 93-105, review memorized text, bring to class next time.
Mon. Oct 15 - “The actor--does not focus on the emotion itself but on the physical embodiment of the gestures, the voice, the animation, these will all lead him to the feeling.” (Brestoff) Given Circumstances and movement - introduce ‘degrees’ and map exercise, read 117-127. (Stella Adler)
Wed. Oct. 17 - “Acting is living truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” (Stanford Meisner) Introducing Meisner and the movement of communion. (contact improvisation) pp. 139--146
Mon. Oct. 22 “It feels better to be connected, doesn’t it?” (Viola Spolin) Introducing Viola Spolin and games; moving with the ‘where’, pp. 147-153
Wed. Oct. 24 “. . .making the familiar strange.” (Brestoff) Introducing Bertolt Brecht and the Theatre of Politics--how do we move with change? The lineage exercise passed out.
Mon. Oct. 29 - Working with mask--and trying on Brecht’s alienation; hand-out about political dramas.
Wed. Oct. 31 - political mask presentations, pt. 2, pp. 154-162
Mon. Nov. 7 - “One must create an atmosphere, a working system in which the actor feels that he can do anything and that nothing he does will be mocked, that all will be understood. . . .Often, the moment the actor understands this, he reveals himself.” (Jerzy Grotowski) Introducing Jerzy Grotowski and the Holy Actor, pp. 163-168
Wed. Nov. 9 - “Succession (lineage) is not a question of being born into the family, but of a real grasp of the art.” (Tadashi Suzuki) Introducing Suzuki. Assign lineage presentations - the history of movement and its purpose in your DNA; exploring the fantastical, the mythic and historical in your body. Introducing Tadashi Suzuki and the Theatre of Grandeur and the Viewpoints, read Anne Bogart hand-out.
Mon. Nov. 14 - Guest instructor: Suzuki and the Viewpoints.
Wed. Nov. 16 - Guest instructor: Suzuki and the Viewpoints.
Mon. Nov. 19 - Moving a scene from beginning to end: the rehearsal process; turn in journal
Wed. Nov. 21 - Moving a scene from beginning to end: the rehearsal process
Dec. 5 - 12: The Final scene presentations